Power & Energy Solutions

The premier renewable energy publication

Peak oil has been around for a while now. Energy specialists in India, specially those working in the renewable energy space, are now talking the same about coal: not quite peak coal but an increasing likelihood that coal will not always be available to run power plants.Will this mean that development as we know will come to a halt, given that energy production and consumption are regarded internationally as a major cause for climate change? For India, a net importer of fossil fuel, including gas, and increasingly of coal, energy security is a compelling reason to go green, G M Pillai, director general, World Institute of Sustainable Energy (WISE) believes.Development cannot stop and it needs energy but the conventional sources of energy , oil and coal are fast running out. So, renewables are the only option. And, they are also green. So the primary objective of going for renewable energy, notes Mr Pillai, should be to secure the country\'s growing energy needs. Solar energy can be a source for our growing energy needs, but what advancements have been made to store it?Storage technology has been developed to the level that it can be stored for six-seven hours. In states such

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French energy company Areva (best known for its nuclear power business) has purchased solar thermal power company Ausra - yet another example of a promising Australian technology company ending up with foreign ownership.One possible positive interpretation of the news is that Areva are losing faith in the oft-predicted but unrealised \"nuclear renaissance\" and now see the real future growth opportunities in large scale solar power, with nuclear power (at best) a legacy business.Areva this week said that it will acquire 100% of Ausra, provider of large-scale concentrated solar power solutions. This acquisition launches Areva\'s new global solar energy business and the company said that it reflects Areva\'s strategic objective to be the world leader in concentrated solar power (CSP) and will further strengthen and diversify its renewables portfolio.This acquisition is expected to close in the next few months, subject to customary regulatory approval. Ausra will continue to operate out of its existing Mountain View, California headquarters.\"Today is about making a strong company even stronger. With Areva, Ausra is joining forces with one of the world\'s global energy leaders. Combining Areva\'s financial and commercial strengths, and its energy expertise, with Ausra\'s proven technology and experienced management team will help position Areva

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Although Grand Canyon hikers may believe that the Grand Canyon has been solar-powered for eons, the fact is the Grand Canyon National Park has \"gone solar\" just recently.Eighty-four photovoltaic solar panels are now operational on the Grand Canyon Visitor Center located at the Canyon View Information Plaza near the south rim.Located both on the Visitor Center\'s roof and on ground-mounted platforms adjacent to the building, the panels will be seen by the more than 4.5 million people who visit the Canyon each year. As the first stop for many visitors to the Canyon\'s south rim, the Center offers hiking trail maps, informational panoramas to orient hikers and visitors to the area and hiking safety advice.\"A great partnership was created when Grand Canyon National Park and APS came together for this project,\" said Steve Martin, Grand Canyon National Park Superintendent. \"This solar installation is a shining example of the park\'s commitment to protecting the environment through the use of renewable energy. The Visitor Center is the perfect location, making the panels visible to all guests providing an opportunity to educate and inspire.\"An exhibit inside the Center and signage next to the platform-mounted panels inform Grand Canyon hikers and visitors about the

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General Electric Co.\'s energy finance unit said it may double the capacity of a wind farm in British Columbia, increasing its bet on renewable-power in Canada\'s westernmost province.GE and Vancouver-based Plutonic Power Corp. last year bought the unfinished, 144-megawatt Dokie Ridge Wind Project, the first equity investment in wind energy in Canada for both companies.\"British Columbia has tremendous natural resources that are ideal for large-scale renewable energy projects,\" Alex Urquhart, who runs the energy financial services unit, a division of Fairfield, Connecticut-based General Electric\'s GE Capital division, said in a statement today.GE and Plutonic are considering expanding Dokie to 300 megawatts, the companies said. Whether the expansion and other renewable developments will get built depends, in part, on government policies and incentives.\"Capital will move to where the returns make the most sense,\" Urquhart, who globally oversees about $23 billion in energy investments, said today in an interview.The first phase of Dokie should be operational next year and provide enough electricity to power 34,000 homes annually, the companies said.Plutonic and GE Energy Financial Services also are building a C$660 million ($628 million) run-of-river hydro-electric project on glacier-fed streams about 190 kilometers (118 miles) northwest of Vancouver. The 196-megawatt East Toba River-

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Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd said it is considering building a wind turbine plant in the United States, and will a make final decision after seeing how demand recovers.Mitsubishi is currently tussling with General Electric over wind turbine patents, with the GE this month filing patent suits against the Japanese company in a U.S. Court.GE, the biggest wind turbine maker in the United States, earlier lost a case against Mitsubishi filed with the U.S. International Trade Commission.Mitsubishi, which holds some 7 percent of the U.S. market, sells about 100 billion yen ($1.1 billion) worth of wind turbines a year, with 80-90 percent of them sold in the United States.Mitsubishi Power Systems Americas, Inc., (MPSA), a United States (Delaware) corporation, announced its intention to build a wind turbine manufacturing facility in Fort Smith, Arkansas. MPSA plans to invest approximately $100 million in the project, which could employ as many as 400 people.\"We are very excited to announce today the future MPSA Wind Turbine manufacturing site in Fort Smith, Arkansas,\" said Koji Hasegawa, President and CEO of MPSA, based in Lake Mary Florida. \"After an intensive site selection process conducted during the last fifteen months, we concluded that Fort Smith, Arkansas offers the

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US solar panel maker SunPower Corporation (SunPower) yesterday agreed to acquire SunRay Renewable Energy (SunRay), a leading European solar power firm for approximately $277 million, aiming at expanding its activities in Europe and the Middle East.SunPower will acquire SunRay from its shareholders, which include its management and Denham Capital, a leading global private equity firm, for $235 million in cash and $42 million in a letter of credit and promissory notes.The transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2010, subject to customary and regulatory approvals.SunPower said that the acquisition will be funded using the company\'s internal resources. Specific financial guidelines regarding the impacts of the acquisition of SunRay will be presented in March, during the company\'s fourth quarter earnings conference.The transaction will enable SunPower to acquire a project pipeline of solar photovoltaic projects totalling over 1,200 MW of power in southern European countries and Israel. The projects are in various stages of development and about 70 SunRay employees are associated with their financing and implementation.Both the companies have worked together on several solar energy projects including the large 24-MW power plant Montalto in Italy.Sanjose, California-based SunPower designs and manufactures high-performance solar electric systems worldwide for residential, commercial

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Akeena Solar, Inc. (Nasdaq:AKNS), a leading installer of solar power systems and designer of AC solar panels, today announced results for the fourth quarter and year ended December 31, 2009.\"2009 was a turning point for Akeena Solar as we diversified our revenue streams by launching the distribution sales of Andalay AC solar panels. Our patented Andalay technology, new distribution channels, and growing brand awareness provide the foundations for rapid growth in the rooftop solar market,\" said Barry Cinnamon, CEO. \"The traction we are gaining with our new distribution partners -- including our growing network of Andalay dealers, Lowe\'s home improvement stores, Morgan Stanley Solar Solutions and Highland Solar -- is a strong validation of our technology. Andalay AC panel\'s built-in monitoring, ease of installation, superior aesthetics and better safety characteristics make it a natural choice for new distribution partners in 2010, including new home builders, as well as HVAC and electrical contractors, seeking opportunities to tap into the solar energy marketplace.\"\"It was a challenging year from a top line revenue standpoint; nevertheless, our other financial metrics showed strong improvement from 2008 to 2009: net cash position (cash and cash equivalents net of credit facility) improved from a negative $1.1 million

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Vestas Wind Systems has secured an order to help produce 33 new turbines for a New Hampshire wind farm, a contract that experts say should help sustain work at its Windsor plant.The Weld County operation, where the blades will be constructed, temporarily halted turbine work in December in light of weak sales.\"The turbines will maximize the project\'s wind resource, providing clean reliable electricity . . . for New England,\" according to a news release issued Thursday.Vestas officials did not return phone calls to provide details about the price tag of the new deal with Granite Reliable Power Windpark in New Hampshire.The turbines will not go into production until 2011.This is the second major deal the Denmark-based manufacturer has struck with a New Eng land firm. Vestas supplied 22 turbines for another project in Maine that began operation in October.The new agreement, according to economic-development experts, should help restore production activity at the Wind sor plant.In recent months, the facility\'s 500 employees have been assigned to training, maintenance and other jobs.\"They\'ve been retooling it (the Windsor division) to accommodate the production of a larger blade,\" said Larry Burkhardt, president of Upstate Colorado Economic Development in Weld County.\"This is definitely good for

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A month after United Technologies Corp. announcing that it closed on a $270 million deal to acquire nearly half of a California wind turbine manufacturer, the chief financial officer says the conglomerate is interested in other investments in alternative energy.CFO Greg Hayes said at an analysts meeting Thursday that the acquisition of Clipper Windpower PLC was a \"relatively small bet.\"\"We\'ve been looking at alternative energy for a long time,\" he said. \"We always liked the space. We see the movement towards clean energy as a space that we can participate in with the technologies that we have.\"The Hartford conglomerate, which owns jet engine maker Pratt & Whitney, Otis elevator and other businesses, said with the Clipper deal it can expand its power generation businesses and enter the high-growth wind power industry.Hayes said United Technologies may seek a majority share of Clipper. It currently has a 49.5 percent stake.\"If over the next couple of years we see what we like, we always have the opportunity to take a majority share if we want,\" he said. \"And if we like the market dynamics, I think you might see more in that space or other alternative technology spaces, which are adjacent to markets

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China Datang Corp, the country\'s second-largest power producer, plans to float shares of its renewable energy unit in a Hong Kong IPO, which is expected to raise at least $1 billion, sources close to the deal said.Analysts expect a potential wave of issuance from the nation\'s power producers at a time when valuations of Chinese wind assets are high and investors in renewable energy are seeking alternatives to out-of-favour solar.Datang has held discussions with several banks to underwrite the offering, which includes hydro and wind power assets. None of the banks have been mandated yet. The company declined to comment.The IPO pursuit follows plans by China\'s Huaneng Group, the country\'s largest power producer, to raise $1 billion through a Hong Kong IPO of its wind power unit [ID:nTOE61708D].\"Company listings could unlock the potential value of the assets and raise money in an industry that enjoys strong earnings growth potential,\" said Felix Lam, analyst with CCB International.China is now the world\'s largest market for wind power after it more than doubled its wind generation capacity to 25 gigawatts last year. The nation\'s unofficial target for wind capacity is at 100 to 150 GW by 2020, possibly attracting investments of over $150

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